Fueling efforts to provide specialized transportation services to the entire Santa Barbara community, Easy Lift Transportation will now significantly expand its Children’s Accessible Transportation program thanks to a $65,000 gift from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara.
Presenting the check at Easy Lift’s board retreat on May 30 was Women’s Fund Research Committee members Sallie Coughlin and Debby Ciambrone.
“The Women’s Fund was very pleased to provide this grant to such a deserving nonprofit organization,” Coughlin and Ciambrone said. “Easy Lift represents collaboration at its best, and we are delighted to help contribute to their Children’s Accessible Transport program for the purchase of a van and associated expenses to expand services to the low-income at-risk children in our community that need transportation to enrichment programs and critical community health services.”
The CAT program was conceived in 2008 after Easy Lift discovered transportation resources were a significant factor that hampered program access for underprivileged children. At no cost to the family or partner agency, Easy Lift provides transportation services so less advantaged youth can access valuable programs such as continuing education, counseling, summer camps, medical appointments and social development activities.
As CAT’s community presence grew, Easy Lift found it increasingly difficult to oblige all requests because the program operated only two vehicles.
“This extremely generous gift from the Women’s Fund will significantly enhance CAT’s services in the community by offering transportation to any and all children,” said Ernesto Paredes, Easy Lift’s executive director. “Easy Lift sees itself as a community resource and partner, doing what we do best, while remaining nimble to respond to the growing and newly developed unmet transit needs.”
CAT serves more than 20 youth and teen programs, including Avance, Back to School Night Interpreters, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, Child Abuse Listening & Mediation (CALM), Dos Pueblos Little League Challengers baseball, the Endowment for Youth Committee, the Family Service Agency, Girls Inc., Just Communities, Match Point (tennis lessons for Franklin Elementary School fourth-graders), Montecito YMCA/Cleveland Elementary School swim program, Isla Vista Teen Center, Noah’s Anchorage, the Orfalea Foundation REACH Program and School of Squash, the Police Activities League, the Storyteller Children’s Center, Transition House, UCSB Summer Wheelchair Camp and United Way.
— Melinda Johansson is the development director for Easy Lift Transportation.